South Korean smartphone giant Samsung unveiled its long-awaited Samsung Galaxy S10 on Wednesday, and bitcoin investors waited with breathless anticipation to learn whether the S10 would feature an integrated crypto wallet.
In a word, yes.
Samsung confirmed today that it has integrated "Samsung Knox" into the S10, a feature which uses hardware security to store private keys for blockchain applications, including - presumably - cryptocurrency. Developers will be able to make use of the feature in creating hardware wallets via software. Anyone who owns an S10 will essentially have a hardware wallet.
"Galaxy S10 is built with defense-grade Samsung Knox, as well as a secure storage backed by hardware, which houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services."
However, it's not clear at this time whether the device will feature a full-scale wallet developed by Samsung - as had been rumored - or whether it will merely have support for private key storage that developers can then use to produce their own secure bitcoin wallets.
CCN previously reported that a Samsung insider leaked photos allegedly depicting a Galaxy S10 with a native crypto wallet. That prototype device only supported storage for ethereum, though the wallet graphics included bitcoin images as well.
The Galaxy S10 is said to feature an Exynos 9820 chip with PUF technology, which IT expert Han Ho-hyeon said would be an ideal processor for native cryptocurrency wallet.
"PUF technology has been added to the Exynos 9820 revealed by Samsung Electronics last year and if the Galaxy S10 features a blockchain-based crypto wallet, the probability of Samsung Electronics utilizing the PUF is very high."
More specifically, the Exynos 9820's use of PUF would greatly enhance private key security over standard third-party mobile crypto wallets.
Samsung isn't the first smartphone manufacturer to add built-in bitcoin capabilities to one of its devices. HTC marketed its Exodus 1 as a blockchain phone "built for this new internet," and crypto startup Sirin Labs used its ICO funding to build the Finney, which features a full-scale hardware wallet.
However, Samsung will be the first major firm to integrate crypto support into its flagship device, giving it a head start over competitors and putting pressure on Silicon Valley giants like Apple and Google to develop features that target bitcoin users.
By adding support for crypto, Samsung gives a stamp of legitimacy to the bitcoin industry.
Support for blockchain applications wasn't the only major feature that Samsung announced today.
Confirming rumors, Samsung SVP Justin Denison further announced the Galaxy Fold, which - as its name suggests - can fold in half.
When folded, the phone looks like a standard mobile device and features a 4.6 inch display.
When opened back up, the device becomes a 7.3 inch tablet and features three-app multitasking.
However, this technology doesn't come cheap. The Fold will retail for a wallet-pinching $1,980.
With additional reporting by Josiah Wilmoth
Samsung Galaxy S10 Image from REUTERS / Henry Nicholls
Last modified (UTC): February 20, 2019 3:45 PM